One thing that the DNC should not do is appoint an elected politician, especially those who are retired or didn't win their last election (which covers all those in contention). The Republicans have done fine with non-politicans. The RNC is run like a business, they do their market research, know the demographics, derive cost effective value from their advertising, test their messages, and bottom line deliver.
Howard Dean is a special person whom I worked for in Iowa and New Hampshire. But his profile is so high, that it would distract from the work. While he has guts and the fighting spirit to fight everywhere, in many ways he ran a terrible campaign and isn't proven. For example, his media savvy when he was running should be graded as F-. Plus his ideas to decentralize the party organization is good up to a point, but there still needs to be a central organization. I think the Republicans have come up with a good balance for this, but the Democrats would have to come up with their own strategy.
I like Simon Rosenberg. His strategies are multi-faceted and work both on the organization and the message. Southern Democrats are very comfortable with his approach, as well as those who feel that the Democratic elected officials do not stand up for their principles (compromising on tax cuts, medicare, Iraq; not strongly supporting fair voting, health care, prudent national security, and the little guy; and opposing media consolidation and ill conceived privatization, de-regulation, and corporate advantages). If I had to pick a second choice, it would be Fowler for many of the same reasons.
I heard there was police brutality in Philly, but I do not anything about it, so I can't comment. However, I am sure Rendell didn't give the Republicans $5 million to have their convention. Also, Bloomberg was disingenuous about the threat that the protestors presented. Further, they had a strategy to take protestors off the street at any ostensible (not necessarily legitimate) violation of any code on the books.
I don't feel Bloomberg has done much. He has made changes in the educational system, but the jury is out on the effectiveness. Besides that, he is a dull manager that doesn't disrespect the working classes of the city, but doesn't relate to them well either.
He hasn't delivered any big aid packages from Washington. He has gotten nothing for Albany. But he has been supporters of both.
Bloomberg's role is suppressing legitimate public dissent and free speech during the Republican National Convention was shameless. He entrapped hundreds of innocent people, most just minding their own business. Then he lied to the public that there were agitators that needed to be handled. This is as bad as anything that Giuliani had done. On top of this, he gave $5 million to the Republican Party for the convention and NYC has received squat from Pataki and Bush.
I love Dr. Dean. I worked for him in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has guts and knows the Democrats have to compete in all 50 states at all levels. He is learning the power of language on the debate. His campaign deflated because he had no concept of how to handle the media (W would never, ever, have a scream moment).
However, Dr. Dean has too high of a profile. The Republicans would make him an issue. His fate is to be an outsider pushing the party to come to its senses.
What the DNC needs is a business person, not a place for a Democratic politican that has lost his or her office. The DNC needs to be run like a business. It must develop a national organization in every state; this is by far the most effective way to get out the vote. As importantly, it must help form the message by correctly expressing the values of the Democratic Party, vary the message by region, perform market and demographic research, and derive the best ways to advertise on a cost effective basis.
The RNC leaders, Gillespie and now Mellman, are relatively low profile, but the RNC does its research and organization. Simon Rosenberg seems to be in their mold. His blogs are right on the mark in a practical way. He has one thing that the RNC chairmen haven't, that is a profoundly deep devotion for the party causes (I sense the RNC ones are in it partly for personal advancement).
In Westchester County NY, north of NYC, we had 3 meetups before the election (Democratic Party, Democracy for America, and Kerry2004). After the election there was much discussion about combining them into one. However, the consensus was to keep all 3 going (Kerry2004 will be renamed) and working to coordinate efforts. The one I am involved with was the Democratic Party and has been newly re-named Patriots in Action, but will continue to organize under the Democratic Party.
The first Democracy for America meeting had 50 attendees.
All organizations are encouraging its attendees to join the local Democratic Committee to help and influence it.
Our meetups will based on specific activities to help the Democratic Party and will not be theraphy or complaining sessions. We are starting a voter registration drive now for instance.
Meetups will survive. Some Democratic leaders will embrace them. The others will definitely be affected by them.
There isn't much difference in policy between the DLC center and the left wing of the Democratic Party. The fight is in the message. The Democrats should take principled but practical positions. Then use DLC / Clinton techniques and terminology, along with similar Republican genius of marketing, to sell the message. In other words there is no reason and no future in becoming Republican lite (sorry Senator Leiberman). Reid is skilled in conveying the message in his own way and knows how the Senate works - he will be good for the Democrats.
The Democrats should not have litmus tests including solid pro choice positions. We need elected officials that support the preponderance of positions of the Democratic Party. Harry Reid fills this bill.
Sorry to say, but Kerry lost the race. He was characterized by Bush as a flip flopper. He was vulnerable because he couldn't come up with a solid image for himself. Plus he didn't attack Bush to keep him off balance. He wasted from March to the debates. All this time, the Republicans were using market research to target their ads and messages like a business, while Kerry couldn't figure out that snowboarding in front of one your wife's 5 houses in Sun Valley will cast you as a rich liberal east-coast elite.
I am sorry for Kerry for working hard and losing, but to run an amateurish campaign and lose to one of the worst Presidential records in history, is at least professional, if not criminal, negligence. All those people who put their reputations, time, and money on the line (Soros, Springsteen, etc.), as well as all the working slugs like us, will they do it again?
Anyway I say this to vent a bit, but hopefully the party will learn and not make the mistakes again. If Kerry would have stated exactly what he was for & defended his record, he wouldn't have lost.
There is no way he deserves another chance in 2008.
The DNC and the Democratic party are amateurs in campaign effectiveness compared to the Republicans. It they had equal ability, Kerry would be President.
The DNC needs specialists in the 3 following areas:
1. Market research
The DNC should hire the most talented advertising executives and forget about most of their political consultants. Selling a candidate is no different than selling toothpaste or a car. For instance, any professional would have know that snow boarding and wind surfing by your wife's mansions is poisonous image making.
Besides research what image is the most effective, professional know how to sell this in the most cost effective way to reach the desired audience (The Republicans used cable TV for specific audiences, the Democrats didn't.) Also this research will tell you how to effectively attack your opponent (something that Kerry didn't do nearly enough) and again how to reach the specific audiences (Bush presented negative ads in Spanish, Kerry didn't).
Along with image, market research will tell you how to put the best name on your policies (tax simplification, eliminate the death tax, ban partial birth abortions, etc.). This is the way to appeal to swing voters, not by forgetting your principles and becoming Republican lite.
Every state, town, city, village, and unincorporated area should have a functioning Democratic committee with goals set by the higher level. This is the best way to get out the vote. A vote in a rural area for a Democrat, while maybe in the minority, is the same as a vote in the city.
In addition, information should be fed to liberal organizations, publications, web sites, pundits, etc. to replay through the media.
3. Fund Raising
This is essential. Terry Mcauliffe was good at this and maybe not much else.